Nigerian British-trained medical doctor and founder/CEO of Mobihealth International, Dr Funmi Adewara, has said the challenges facing the Nigerian healthcare sector, including brain drain, shortage of healthcare professionals and poor infrastructure, are making telemedicine an imperative and a better alternative in the country.

Adewara made this known while speaking on the challenges the Nigerian health sector experienced last year, and how telemedicine and health-based technologies helped to address some of the challenges.

Adewara lamented that last year was challenging for the Nigerian health sector, that thousands of doctors and healthcare professionals have left the country and continue to leave in droves.

Recall that, last year, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said Nigeria has about 24,000 actively licensed physicians caring for its over 200 million population. The association lamented that out of that number about 10,200 have abandoned the country for jobs in other countries, leaving Nigeria to battle with the worst brain drain in the country’s history.

In light of this, Adewara expressed concern on how the healthcare in Nigeria and Africa remains grossly underfunded with 95 per cent of the population lacking access to basic healthcare and health insurance. She added that long-distance travel, poorly equipped health centres and high treatment costs constitute barriers to access, with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening the gap.

“These challenges are making the imperative for using telemedicine to bridge the gap in the shortage of healthcare professionals even more urgent. Experts believe that technology can help change the dismal narrative. More than 60 per cent of medical problems could be addressed virtually through telemedicine.”

Adewara said it is encouraging to see health tech-based companies like Mobihealth International – despite the challenges in the digital health space globally − driving innovative solutions to the last mile.

She stressed that despite the challenges facing the Nigerian health sector, she and her company are committed to serving the country better this year.

She added that they would use technology to provide quality, timely and affordable healthcare services to all, especially to those in rural places who cannot afford conventional healthcare services.

While explaining how telemedicine works and how cost-effective it is, using Mobihealth as an example, she he noted that with a pool of local and foreign medical experts and with as low as N5000 a year, a family can access a doctor on their mobile devices, computers or integrated telehealth walk-in clinics and get diagnostic tests and medications.


“We have doubled our subscription to over 60,000 paid beneficiaries providing services through mobile, web apps and walk-in telehealth clinics.

“We launched additional product lines in 2022 including digitalisation and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) helping healthcare facilities move from paper-based systems to EMR which delivers interoperability, efficiency, cost savings and security. Mobihealth also signed a deal with the Nigerian Air Force to digitalise and implement EMR for their network of hospitals.”

She stated that they are also in the advanced stages of deal closure with other institutions. She also spoke on the grants and partnerships her company received from local and international organisations.

According to her, these organisations include a partnership deal with Union Bank of Nigeria, which gives Mobihealth access to over six million customer base the bank and the opportunity to set up walk-in clinics within the bank’s over 300 branches nationwide; the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant of one million dollars to carry out feasibility studies for the Pan-African expansion; the completion the POC funded by the $200,000 grant secured from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which delivered telehealth to over 3000 beneficiaries in rural hard-to-reach areas on maternal and child health, reproductive health and nutrition; among others.

In addition to the grants, Adewara also spoke on some of the telemedicine clinics Mobihealth established last year with now 10 integrated telehealth clinics across six states, some of which are within the Air Force Barracks, and in some primary health centres in Kaduna, Lagos, Kano.

Other partnerships include the Isanlu Telehealth Clinic within Isanlu Community Health Centre in Kogi State, which was set up by the former Minister of Health and founder of REEF, Professor Eyitayo Lambo and PZ Cussons.

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